Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Article excerpt

I was appalled. She had asked Lord John Somerset to ask me to join her, and I rose rather unsteadily to do so. This was during a Jimmy Goldsmith ball, and I was writing the Atticus column in the Sunday Times, as well as High life. A German girlfriend of mine at the time warned me about going over. 'If you go to her, that's it,' she told me. 'Auf Wiedersehen,' I answered. The princess signalled for me to sit, and that's where the appalling part comes in. I missed the chair and ended up under the table. Without missing a beat, she stuck her head underneath and asked me: 'Do you really think I'm crazy?' 'All I know is that I'm nuts about you,' said I.

That's how my friendship with Princess Di began, and I think this is the last time I will write about her (it seems that everyone else has, so I might as well put in my two cents). The reason she wanted to meet me is that I had hinted that she was a nutcase trying to bring down the monarchy. After our rather inauspicious beginning -- me under the table, and her bending down discussing her mental state -- she quickly turned me into a believer. Mind you, she never talked badly about her husband, nor anyone else in the royal family. And I didn't pry. I'm not exactly a pro when it comes to prying. Just because I became a journalist doesn't mean I had to forget my manners. What Diana wanted was for me to give a dinner and invite editors of major newspapers. She never put it like that exactly, but had a female friend hint that it would really make her happy if I did.

So I did. If memory serves, Charles Moore, Alexander Chancellor and Dominic Lawson came, along with a few other hacks. It was at my place in Cadogan Square, and I pulled out all the stops: great wines and enough food to feed a German division in Stalingrad. The trouble was that she didn't touch the booze and only picked at her food. The rest of us got quite tipsy. Word of the dinner had got out, and a couple of friends rang the bell during dinner. I had a flunkey tell them to wait outside until dinner was over. It was a joke, but one in particular took it rather badly.

What followed were more dinners at my house, and a lunch at Kensington Palace, where I read out the end of a short story by Jay McInerney. In it the grandchildren discover, during a Thanksgiving dinner, that granny gave grandfather a blowjob the first time they met. …

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